Paper for the
LegCo Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services
Meeting on 11 November 1996 Proposed Judicial Tribunal

On 11 October, Judge Caird’s solicitors wrote to the Governor to inform him that Judge Caird wished to apply for leave to retire on medical grounds. On the same day, they issued a public statement, in which they announced that Judge Caird had undergone a series of medical and psychiatric examinations in the period since 17/18 August, and that the medical opinion was that he was unable, as a result of his illness, to provide a proper and cogent account of his actions and behaviour at the crucial time and additionally was not in a position to discharge his duties as a judge. They also stated that Judge Caird wished them to say that, whatever he said or thought at the time, neither Judge Beeson nor Judge Hawkes had applied any pressure upon him whatsoever in respect of the Nattrass case. A copy of the press statement is attached at Annex A.

2. The Governor subsequently asked the Judiciary Administrator to arrange for the establishment of a Medical Board to consider whether Judge Caird is medically able to discharge the functions of his office and, if he is considered unable, whether such inability is likely to be permanent, and also to consider whether Judge Caird’s state of health was such that it would have affected his behaviour on 17/18 August. A copy of the Government press release issued on 14 October is attached at Annex B.

3. The Judiciary Administrator has asked the Director of Health to establish a Medical Board. This has now been done.

4. In the meantime, the Governor has decided not to take any further action to appoint a Judicial Tribunal until he has received the report of the Medical Board.

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